Circus First Birthday Party

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I kind of dug myself into a hole by throwing such a big first birthday for Evelyn. Remember that one? It took weeks and weeks of prep to get it just right. And I couldn’t stand the thought of my kids, as teens, going through photos and noticing that Evelyn got an incredible first birthday and Remi’s was a cake and some balloons.

I thought I was doing a little less DIY with this party but man, it took the whole freaking day to set up. And the party was at 2! Whatevs. It still turned out exactly as I had envisioned. Maybe even better.

Circus seemed like such a fitting theme for a first birthday party! It’s the ultimate birthday experience. You get all those kooky games one plays at typical birthday parties, with a theme that draws guests in! Now granted, most of our guests were a little on the young side so some of the games were kind of lost on them. But I think a party like this is still appropriate for a first birthday if you have older kids coming. Or if you take the games up a notch, they could be more geared towards the adults. A party is a party…no matter the size of the guest.

final invite blog


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The thing I regret the most about the decor is probably that I wasn’t able to make a circus tent happen. I did make one. It was a red and white striped table cloth draped over a hula hoop. It was going to hang over Remi’s high chair. But once we hung it up and the wind started blowing, it sort of a resembled a bag of trash. Sad.

I tried to create a small form of grand entrance at the entry to the backyard with tablecloths but it didn’t really translate. And at that point, I was running out of time. The good news it, guests only saw it for a fraction of the party. The good stuff is on the inside.

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See those signs? I could have made them myself but I opted to buy them. Yes, I know it says ‘Carnival’ and not ‘Circus.’ Who care? The thing the least amount of people took part in was the face painting station. Understandable I suppose. My sister-in-law was in charge and ended up just painting Remi out of boredom. But it was pretty cute.

The station was equipped with regular face paint and face paint crayons. But also some temporary tattoos and glitter heart stickers.

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What’s a circus without games?! Okay, yeah, that’s probably more of a carnival. It was a circus/carnival theme okay?

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You like those mad artistic skills? That’s right, I painted that ha. We nailed my artwork to an Ikea wooden stool (you know the one, it’s amazeballs) and grabbed some hula hoops from the dollar store and BAM! Ring toss!

I should mention that 94% of the stuff for this party came from the dollar store. Seriously. Food included.

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I kept calling this game Ball-In-Hole which doesn’t so much roll off the tongue but do you have a better name? It’s just four pool noodles (dollar store) and some packing tape. Lots of packing tape. Then I added some spunk with bows and points signs.

We already had the balls, because children. But I got the cute orange serving bowl at…you guessed it, the dollar store.

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My acrobats were probably my favorite part of everything! Aren’t they so cute! I just attached Evelyn’s Barbies to some hula hoops and Chris hung them from the trees. How circus is that?!

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People kept making comments that this one was kind of torture-esque. But let’s be clear. It would look like she was being tortured if she was being suspended in the center by chains or something. But her feet are clearly standing on the bottom of the hoop and she is balancing like the boss acrobat that she is.

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It’s kind of hard to really see the tight rope walker because of the lighting and the trees. But she’s walking across a blue string of yarn. And she has so much flair. You’re super jelly.

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We have these two great big trees in our yard and I hung string between them and created a photo timeline of Remington’s life. From his first photo, minutes after birth, to his most recent cake smash photos. (I’ll post those here soon.)
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I needed a backdrop for the food table, so Chris grabbed these extra pieces of fence that we had lying around and screwed them together real quick. The backside was the perfect place for a couple more games: Stick the nose on the clown (Hobby Lobby) and Punch-a-Prize.

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Show me a kid that doesn’t love punching things. Seriously. Can’t find one? That’s what I thought. This game is the perfect way to give out prizes at the end of a party. Cups glued to foam core filled with dinky dollar store toys and covered in squares of tissue paper. And thus we have: Punch-a-Prize.

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Typical Circus-type foods. My good friend made that incredible cake. SHE MADE IT! I can’t even.

Those cute tissue paper balls of adorable-ness came from the dollar store. I thought. “Hey these are perfect and I don’t even have to make them!” I kid you not, they took twenty minutes to fluff each. I had another one that I didn’t even bother using.

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We had so much leftover cotton candy! I meant to send it home with people and forgot. Cotton candy is so gross…but kids love it.

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That cake though.

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The ‘Duck Pond’ was a huge hit. Guess where I got the nets from…

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The birthday boy sporting his cute arm art sitting with his girlfriend.

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I bought this pool at a yard sale for $4 (new at Walmart $37) last summer, only to discover it had a hole. So ball pit it is! The balls came from Walmart, 100 for $12 and I think we ended up getting 600 to make this pit feel full.

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^^Ring toss in mid game.

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I couldn’t help but do funky clown-like makeup for a circus party. Evelyn and I are showing off our glitter stickers from the face paint booth.

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What’s a circus without a strong man?! No circus I want to attend!


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^^Punch-a-Prize in action

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^^Pool number two.

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^^Cold, wet baby snuggles!

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^^Girls after my own heart